If you’ve ever searched for a “Hair Salon near me” or “Interior Designer in St. John’s”, you’ve unleashed the power of Google’s local business recommendations. We use this service to find businesses in our personal lives everyday, but have you ever wondered how you can optimize your own website for Local SEO so you start appearing in these local search results too? Here are 5 ways you can improve your website so you’ll begin to appear in general search results based on your location and keywords associated with your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your website is found by potential customers looking for your products or services through Google. It involves using technical aspects of your website such as page titles, H1 and H2 headers, links and plugins to help Google read your website’s content. Implementing these elements properly will make your business easily findable and in the end, help your website rank better in search results. The higher your page appears in search results, the more likely customers are to find your website!
Local SEO, in that respect, is a strategy you can use to set up your website to target customers looking for businesses within a geographic area or physical location. In 2020, 93% of consumers used online searches to find a local business, so utilizing local SEO tactics on your website will make sure you are not missing out on reaching your ideal customers.
In order for Google to know you provide a service within a specific geographic area, you need to include these keywords in your website’s page titles, headlines and content. When your site is first published or updated, Google will perform scans of the content on your website and will take note of specific location data when it does. You’ll want to mention your location as much as possible – don’t just rely on your contact page to get this information across – so Google can start showing your page in “near me” type searches.
One method of adding your location to your website is to update your page titles. If your homepage’s title is currently named “Home”, use a more descriptive title such as “Interior Design in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland” or “Bridal Salon minutes from St. John’s, Newfoundland”.
The same principle goes for the content of your website. Read through what you currently say on your homepage, your about page and services page. Do you mention your physical or geographic area in headlines or paragraphs? I recommend mentioning your location in at least one headline and within at least one paragraph on each page of your website.
Do you currently have only one page on your website that lists all your products or services? Google has trouble reading these types of pages because there isn’t one specific service being focused on.
Try separating each service or product you offer into individual pages so each page can have its own titles, headlines and content that are specific to your area. For example, if you are a photographer in Bonavista, have a separate page for each type of photography services you offer such as weddings, family/lifestyle, newborn etc, so you can title your pages “Wedding Photography on the Bonavista Peninsula” and so forth.
Starting in 2020, Google began favouring websites that were optimized for mobile devices and this has quickly become one of the leading factors in ensuring your website is ranked well in search results. In order to be mobile friendly, your site must be easy to read and navigate on devices such as smartphones and tablets.
If your website is not easy to read and navigate on mobile phones, this can hurt your Google search ranking if you are competing with local companies who have optimized their websites for mobile devices.
To unleash even more power from Google, double check that your business name, address, website URL and phone number are the same on all major social media or directory listing platforms that you currently use. The more records there are on the internet of your business and the geographic area you serve, the more reputable you’ll seem to Google. If your contact details are incorrect, Google may not make the connection that these listings are for the same business, so best to keep these up-to-date!
The single most important tool you can use to increase the likelihood of visitors finding your website through search results is to claim your Google Business Profile. These listings are completely free and will allow you to add photos, relevant contact details as well as menus, services and products that you sell.
Google favours businesses that utilize their services and once you claim and set up your Business Profile, you’ll begin to appear in general search results based on location and keywords, as well as Google Maps!
Want to learn more about SEO and other ways to optimize your website to increase sales? Head to my resources page to access a list of links and WordPress plugins mentioned in this article so you can start optimizing your website for local SEO.